My dog is afraid of gunshots and thunder

How do I get rid of Daisy, my dog, fear of gun shots and thunder without hurting her?

Asked by Daisy on Mar 31st 2008 Tagged dog_afraid_of_thunder_and_gunshots in Fears & Phobias
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My mom is a dog trainer and behavior specialist so I asked her and she said:

"The standard method is desensitization and counter conditioning: start with a low level of sound (guns in the distance, or an audio recording on low) and pair each experience with the sound with something WONDERFUL for Daisy. GRADUALLY increase the level (or get closer) and keep pairing it with great treats or experiences.

"Do be careful not to reward a fearful response - keep the level low enough that she is aware of the sound but not reacting to it. This is a bit tricky and you may want help from a professional trainer."

We don't get thunderstorms here, but I've gotten better with firecrackers. Good luck Daisy!

Flipper answered on Mar 31st.

Other Answers



Saha was afraid of gunshots and fireworks, but not storms. I just ignored her and it did seem to get better. I also put in her crate and closed up the house when I knew fireworks were planned. One dog, I just put in the basement to soften the noises. She would lay quietly there.
Sitstay.com has an anxiety wrap that they sell for dogs with such issues. The write-up on it indicated that the company owners themselves are impressed with it.
Do not comfort the dog. If you must say anything to her, growl, "That's enough" If you comfort her, she'll see it as positive reinforcement and never will do any better.

Lily answered on 3/31/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer

Fun On The Run Kennel Racing

We have this problem with Shadow too...I do not think there is anything you can do about it. Shadow hates ALL loud noises....he whines almost constantly too.

Fun On The Run Kennel Racing answered on 3/31/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer

Haus R.I.P. my boy I miss you

So do you plan on hunting with her? I'm not sure why you would know that she is afraid of gunshots. Gun shyness is a man made behavior.It is created by people not teaching the dog properly.I have trained bird dogs for over 15 years professionally and longer prior to that.You need to start early with them if you decide to hunt.
The storms have been as well something that can be a poblem created by us if we give the dogs the wrong signal at the time that they are looking for comfort.If we feed into the comfort seeking then this unfortunately will lead to a dog that is not taught to be confident and instead is taught to seek human comfort for any noise that is simular to a storm.Once this is a problem this behavior cna be very hard to change.Idealy when the seek for comfort you are to ignore them and let them figure it out on their own.Don't give them a pat on the head or a word of comfort or even a treat or it may feed into tht e worried behavior instead of teaching them to ignore it an

Haus R.I.P. my boy I miss you answered on 3/31/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


I have found that for Nikaya (he hates guns but is okay with thunder), trying to calm him down is the best antidote. Dogs are sometimes like children. They are afraid because they feel scared, abandoned, and alone. When Nikaya hears a gun, he barks, jumps, howls, cries, the works! So, what do I do? I go to him, sit beside him, and calm him. I pet him vigorously (sometimes even a calming massage), perhaps sing a lullaby (if he is okay with it), talk to him, etc. This is all done in my effort to let him know that he is not alone. That mommy is there with him. That he is safe and no one is going to harm he or the family. We have a lot of hunters around here so this is a big issue. But...we ourselves do not use guns as we don't see much point in them. Good luck with the desensitizing!

Member 538620 answered on 3/31/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


I saw the exact same thing that Haus answered on TV Animal planet with one of the dogs that was afraid of lightning.

Kate answered on 4/1/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


I have used the anxiety wrap with some success. I was relaying that to my groomer and she said her dog has one and once she put it on him, he immediately became calm and went to sleep during a thunderstorm. results vary.

I try to let her find a way to soothe herself, she goes into the mstr bath by the toilet at night and will go into a hallway off the kitchen during the day when we're downstairs. I do this becoz reassuring her really didn't work and almost everything I read said it wasn't a good idea. After realizing there would be times when I wasn't with her, I decided to let her deal with it and find what soothes her.

Desensitization WORKS. I thought it seemed cruel, but last yr we had record breaking rain. Several days a week for a couple of months. She actually was outright calm by the end of the rainy season. amazing! BUT she's scared again this yr. Im thinking of introducing the sound, increasing the volume slowly each day. GOOD LUCK!

♥GRACIE answered on 4/3/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer